Motoring Days on Orchard Road

26 11 2020

It is hard to imagine it today, but Singapore’s famous main shopping street, Orchard Road, was once lined with car showrooms and motor workshops. Car brands such as Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Austin, Morris, Ford, Vauxhall, Fiat … and even Rolls Royce, had a presence there. It was certainly the go-to place to do a test drive and place an order for the still affordable family car, or to send the car for servicing and repair.

Orchard Motors, which was at the corner of Orchard and Bideford Road, became The Orchard in the early 1970s — the home of the (in)famous Tivoli Coffee House (Orchard Motors photo used with the kind permission of Mr Bryan Soh).

Two showrooms that were rather prominent in the regular journeys that I made as a child along Orchard Road between C K Tang and Cold Storage, were Champion Motors and Orchard Motors. Champion, which was then a dealer for Volkswagen is today where Lucky Plaza stands, while Orchard Motors — which dealt with Vauxhalls and Chevrolets, was first converted into The Orchard — a small shopping mall that was better known as the location of the (in)famous Tivoli Coffee House, before being replaced by the Paragon’s original wing.

The Orchard, seen with Lucky Plaza coming up on the site of the former Champion Motors showroom.

Today, only two buildings that bear testament to Orchard Road’s motoring past still stand. One is the wonderfully designed sunburst gabled no 14 to 20 Orchard Road — now used by MDIS, which has a history that goes back to Orchard Road’s early motoring days when it was purpose-built as showroom cum office building for Malayan Motors, a Morris dealer. That stands in a conserved row now opposite Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station — along a stretch of Orchard Road that attracted a host of showrooms and workshops in the early days of motoring and was where Ford motorcars were initially assembled in Singapore. Names such as Universal Cars, a Ford dealer and Borneo Motors, an Austin dealer turned Toyota agent, were also connected with the stretch.

The former Malayan Motors showroom seen in 1984 (courtesy of Henry Cordeiro).

While it does seem quite well established that the former Malayan Motors showroom is still around, much less has been said about Liat Towers, which was constructed as the headquarters and showroom of Mercedes Benz. Its construction came at a time when the street was on the cusp of its transformation into the world-renowned retail destination that it is today. It would not be long before shopping malls such as Plaza Singapura (1974) and Lucky Plaza (1978) launched the transformation of the street into a retail destination.






Vintage Cars at Dempsey Hill

11 09 2016

Motoring Heritage Day, which sees Singapore’s largest display of vintage cars is bacon 11 September 2016 from 10 am to 6 pm.

Held at Dempsey Hill (Carpark at Block 15), this year’s edition will see 30 pre-war vintage and post-war classic cars and motorcycles on display. The event is organised by Malaysia and Singapore Vintage Car Register, which encourages the use and preservation of period cars and bikes.

Besides the vintage car display, visitors can look forward to live music being performed by local bands as well as other fringe activities to entertain the entire family.





Saving Fuel with Shell

24 07 2012

As motorists, many of us quite easily forget how our driving habits can affect how often we would need to refill that now very expensive tank of fuel. Shell, which has 100 years’ experience in helping the world’s motorists get more out of their fuel, has come up with a great idea! To help drive the message of how the right choice of fuel and also a few simple changes to driving habits can help motorists save fuel and reduce their fuel costs, Shell will run a month-long campaign from now until 26 August 2012, called Target One Million. The campaign encourages the participation of motorists in a series of interactive, online mini-games, designed to show motorists how fuel can be saved. The games can be found at www.shell.com.sg/targetonemillion. During the course of campaign, which aims to reach out to one million motorists worldwide, online mini-games will be released, each designed to equip players with a different skill that will help them save fuel. The first – Shell FuelSave Challenge – is now available at www.shell.com.sg/targetonemillion.

Shell FuelSave Challenge Game Screen

To play the game, motorists should register at www.shell.com.sg/targetonemillion page. Registration requires a referral ID (“Unique ID”) which is B109 for visitors referred through this blog and is through an online interactive registration process found at the page. Anyone who has registered and completes the mini challenge will be able to enjoy $5* off Shell fuel. Those registered with will also be automatically notified via email each time a new mini-game is released.

Registration Screen

For successful registration:

  • Ensure all mandatory fields AND the field for “Unique ID” (use B109) are populated
  • Select “Singapore” as the region
  • Agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

The Economics of Fuel Economy in Singapore


Information on Target One Million and Shell FuelSave

Why is Shell doing this?

The world’s population is expected to grow dramatically over the next few decades and, as a result, many more vehicles will be required. In fact, the number of cars on the road is expected to triple by 2050, significantly increasing the demand for energy.

We believe to meet this demand effectively and responsibly, it will be necessary for us all to use fuel more efficiently. That’s why we are taking steps to promote energy efficiency across the world – a vision we call Smarter Mobility. A major part of this vision is helping the world’s motorists save fuel.

We are confident that choosing the right fuel like Shell FuelSave and making a few simple changes to their driving habits can help people save fuel, and in doing so, reduce their fuel costs. Through Target One Million, we hope to show a mass global audience just how easy it can be.

How do Shell FuelSave Fuels work to help motorists use fuel more efficiently?

Shell FuelSave contains our instantaneous fuel economy formula and is designed to help save you fuel at no extra cost. The formula helps to reduce energy losses by lubricating where engine oils are less effective, such as the upper piston ring. It is also designed to keep inlet valves clean, prevent deposits from forming and so help improve engine efficiency.

What else is Shell doing to help drivers be more fuel efficient?

Coinciding with the launch of the Target One Million campaign, Shell has commissioned a new research study to better understand how to help more drivers save more fuel on a more frequent basis. The research provided insightful findings into the driving attitudes and behaviours on fuel-saving. The research was conducted across 10 countries such as United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Turkey, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Shell is constantly working to promote smarter energy use and has over 100 years’ experience of helping the world’s motorists get more out of their fuel. Target One Million is the latest step along this journey.

When it comes to smarter energy use, Shell has a strong heritage. This includes developing Shell FuelSave, designed to help our customers save fuel at no extra cost. Shell also crowned the World’s Smartest FuelSavers in 2010 and set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Fuel Efficiency Lesson’ on Global Shell FuelSave Day in October 2011.

Where can I get more information?

For further information, visit www.shell.com.sg/targetonemillion.